As Amazon Prime Day takes place June 21 and 22, the BBB warns people to look out for scams, including phishing, false advertising and phony websites.
"It's really a big day for the scammers, retail experts say Prime Day nets more sales for Amazon than Black Friday. For the crooks, that's great rip-off potential", said Steve Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.
Full statement BBB of Chicago and Northern Illinois:
"Scammers Primed for Amazon Prime Days
Chicago, June 21, 2021 - Amazon Prime Day is coming Monday and Tuesday June 21 and 22. This year, Amazon isn't the only retailer rolling out discounts for Prime Day (June 21-22, 2021). Walmart, Target, and Kohl's, just to name a few, are running competing sales. But more deals mean more chances for scammers to capitalize on the buzz and trick shoppers. Be wary of phishing scams, misleading advertisements, and lookalike websites.
This year that's earlier than normal. It's like Christmas in June but not necessarily for the online shoppers. While you may be making a list in preparation for your shopping spree the crooks also have a list of scams, hacks, con tricks, and frauds as well.
'It's really a big day for the scammers, retail experts say Prime Day nets more sales for Amazon than Black Friday. For the crooks, that's great rip-off potential', says Steve Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. Benas adds, 'When you lump in Walmart Target, Kohls and others who also have special sales events, scammers can rake in thousands in ill-gotten gains.'
Along with the cash bonanza, the con artists will trick some of their targets into giving up their equally valuable personal information and that can lead to identity theft.
RELATED: Amazon Prime Day deals, savings tips from shopping experts
Scams to look out for:
Phishing scams that appear to come from a popular retailer. Phishing scams increase during busy shopping times, such as Prime Day or Black Friday. When you are making a lot of purchases, it's easy to lose track of exactly what you bought and where you shopped. That makes you more likely to fall for a phishing scam posing as a big name store.
Look out for unsolicited emails, texts, or phone calls. These messages may claim you have a free gift waiting for you or that there is a problem with a delivery - all you need to do is click on a link or give up your personal information. One recent phishing con claims to be Amazon calling to fix an issue with your account. This a ruse meant to get your credit card information, account login details, or remote access to your computer.
Beware of false advertising and phony websites. When searching online or browsing social media, watch out for ads that point to scam websites. Con artists often create lookalike websites that, at first glance, appear to belong to a trusted retailer. But when you look more closely at the URL, you'll noticed that the domain name is slightly different (i.e., Instead of Popularstore.com, the URL might be PopvlarStore.com or PopularStoreOnline.com).
Always make sure websites use the correct spelling of a business name and have legitimate contact information and customer service numbers. Also, use common sense when evaluating deals. If a company claims to be selling the hottest item of the year at a super low price, it's probably a con.
Tips to avoid online shopping scams this Prime Day:
- Beware of fake lookalike websites: Check the URL, watch for bad grammar, research the age of the domain, search for contact information, and read online reviews.
- Professional photos do not mean it's a real offer. Scammers often steal photos off other websites, so don't believe what you see.
- Make sure the website is secure. Look for the "https" in the URL (the extra "s" is for "secure") and a small lock, icon on the address bar. Never enter payment or personal information into a website with only "http." It is NOT secure.
- Be careful purchasing sought-after products. If something is sold out everywhere, don't be tempted by a seemingly great deal. Scammers often trick shoppers by offering the most popular products at low prices. Here's one example involving game consoles.
- Pay with a credit card. It's always best to make online purchases with your credit card. If any shady charges turn up later, you will be able to contest them through your credit card company. Be very wary of any retailer that asks you to pay by digital wallet apps, prepaid money cards, or other non-traditional payment methods.
For More Information
Learn more about avoiding scam social media ads when shopping online. Read about scammers' tracking code trick.
For more advice, read BBB's tips on online shopping. If you've spotted an online scam, report it to BBB ScamTracker. Subscribe to BBB Scam Alerts for weekly updates about new scams.
Receiving packages from Amazon that you didn't order? See our article on Amazon brushing scams.
RELATED: Amazon Prime Day starts today; Walmart, Target, Best Buy offering their own deals
BBB of Chicago and Northern Illinois is a nonprofit organization that has served both consumers and trustworthy businesses for over 95 years and is a part of the IABBB. We connect consumers with businesses they can trust. BBB encourages everyone to use our free database of business ratings and reviews to find businesses before they make purchases.
The International Association of Better Business Bureaus (IABBB) is the network hub for BBBs in the US, Canada and Mexico. Like BBBs, IABBB is dedicated to fostering honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers -- instilling consumer confidence and advancing a trustworthy marketplace for all.
Please visit bbb.org for more information."
The video in the media player above was used in a previous report.